Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Dryden Modern Classic Collection at Amazon
"The smooth writing quality and stylish design make Dryden our top choice."
Best Under $100: Lamy Studio Fountain Pen at Amazon
"If you’re willing to spend extra, the luxurious design is worth it."
Best Under $50: Lamy Safari Fountain Pen at Amazon
"The same name-brand craftsmanship but at a lower price."
Best for Beginners: Pilot Metropolitan at Amazon
"Unlike other cheaper models, its quality won’t leave you frustrated."
Best for Drawing: Plotube Wooden Pen Calligraphy Set at Amazon
"It works for both new and experienced calligraphers and artists."
Best for Lefties: Pelikan Pelikano at Amazon
"Can be purchased with a special left-handed nib."
Best Value: Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen at Amazon
"This pack includes seven disposable fountain pens in vibrant colors."
Best Novelty: AIVN Calligraphy Pen Set with Feather Quill at Amazon
"Makes a great gift for artists, writers, history buffs, and more."
01 of 08
Best Overall: Dryden Modern Classic Collection
Dryden Designs achieved the perfect combination of luxury and affordability with its Modern Classic Collection. For a reasonable price, this fountain pen glides across the page—no blotching, skipping or bleeding—while still looking stylish. It features a sleek metallic casing, available in seven different colors, and signature gold accents. It’s so eye-catching that you could use it simply as a showpiece. Of course, it’s the writing quality that makes Dryden our top choice.
“The written word appears effortlessly on paper using the Dryden Luxury Fountain Pen,” one customer wrote. “I may have to return to buy even more of these handsomely styled and reliable pens!”
This sentiment echoes hundreds of other positive online reviews, all saying the Dryden Modern Classic is one of the finest pens you can buy, fountain or otherwise.
Dryden sends this pen in an attractive pouch, making it gift ready, and if you’re not satisfied with the product they offer a lifetime money back guarantee.
02 of 08
Best Under $100: Lamy Studio Fountain Pen
Founded in 1930, Lamy has long been one of the world’s most respected producers of writing instruments. They put so much care into the quality of their pens that the final step in their manufacturing process is to test every single one by hand. So if you’re willing to spend extra, the Lamy Studio Fountain Pen is one of the best on the market.
This pen can make the most agonizing writing tasks (rent checks, rent checks, rent checks) pleasurable—or, at least, not so agonizing. Even its physical description has the ring of luxury: black lacquer finish, high-gloss chrome grip, interchangeable silver steel nib. And according to dozens of online reviews, the writing experience is butter smooth and gives rich, evenly distributed ink to every letter.
03 of 08
Best Under $50: Lamy Safari Fountain Pen
Lamy makes another appearance on our list with their Safari Fountain Pen. This product features the same name-brand craftsmanship as their Studio Pen but at a lower price. In fact, the Safari uses the same stainless steel nib as the Studio.
The primary differences between the two, however, are the Studio’s larger size, even weight distribution, and ergonomic cylindrical grip. Deciding between the Safari and the Studio comes down to whether you’re willing to sacrifice a few luxuries for a cheaper cost.
Lamy released the Safari in 1980, targeting younger buyers with its numerous color options, unique triangular grip, and signature metal clip. Think of it as a luxury car company making a vehicle specifically to compete with more affordable models.
One five-star reviewer online wrote, “I have a few fountain pens, some that cost 10x this much. I have two of these [Safari’s] now and find myself gravitating to using these more than the others.”
04 of 08
Best for Beginners: Pilot Metropolitan
Fountain pens write differently than your everyday ballpoint BIC’s, so it might be worth testing a cheaper, simpler version before investing in a pricy pen. For that, the Pilot Metropolitan is your guy.
While there are less expensive fountain pens on the market—Jinhao and Zebra are names you can turn to for the absolute cheapest fountain pens—the Pilot Metropolitan is our choice for beginners because its quality won’t leave you frustrated and wondering why someone would ever choose to write with anything other than a ballpoint. The Metropolitan is one of the most reviewed fountain pens online, receiving nearly universal praise for its dependability and ease of use.
“While these pens are inexpensive, they work very well and are comfortable to write with,” one reviewer wrote. “I now own five of these pens in various colors and nib widths.”Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best for Drawing: Plotube Wooden Pen Calligraphy Set
With their effortless flow and rich ink distribution, fountain pens are excellent for drawing and calligraphy, and artists out there will love Plotube’s Calligraphy Pen Set. It works for both new and experienced calligraphers, as well as those interested in drawing and sketching.
Plotube packs this set with the works: one rosewood fountain pen, 10 stainless steel nibs, one golden nib, a pen holder and a bottle of black ink. Packaged in an elegant gift box, Plotube makes a great present (even if it’s a present for yourself). Each item is handcrafted and covered under Plotube’s 100% money back guarantee.
Keep in mind that this pen must be dipped in ink before use, unlike most of today’s fountain pens, which typically contain an ink cartridge. For some, dipping the Plotube pen in a bottle of ink might only add to the experience, as it harkens back to earlier days, giving the writing experience a wonderful old-fashioned feel with modern smoothness.
06 of 08
Best for Lefties: Pelikan Pelikano
Scissors. Can Openers. Middle school desks. Life can be hard for lefties. Thankfully, Pelikan keeps you in mind.
The Pelikan Pelikano Fountain Pen can be purchased with a special left-handed nib, designed to help southpaws from constantly adjusting their wrists to find the perfect writing angle or from smearing ink across the page while they write. The Pelikano comes in junior sizes too, which may provide greater control while writing.
“First fountain pen I've purchased advertised as being for lefties,” wrote an online customer. “It works 100x better than any other fountain pen I've bought in the past and should have been a no-brainer from the start. Wish I would have started out with lefty pens years ago!”
07 of 08
Best Value: Pilot Varsity Fountain Pen
The Pilot Varsity is a dependable everyday fountain pen, and it comes at a bargain. You can buy the Varsity in a variety of packs, most of which keep the price around $2 per pen, but the 7-pack pouch gives you the most for your money. This pack includes seven disposable fountain pens in an assortment of vibrant colors. It makes a great gift for artists, children, and students who like color coding notes.
And despite the low cost, this pen has few negative reviews. Some customers note that it doesn’t last as long as other products and that it can occasionally bleed, but overall the Varsity has received widespread acclaim, with most customers agreeing that it’s a wonderful pen at a wonderful price.
08 of 08
Best Novelty: AIVN Calligraphy Pen Set with Feather Quill
If you’re looking for a pen that thrusts you back into the Victorian Era, look no further than AIVN’s Calligraphy Pen Set with Feather Quill. There are many novelty quill pens on the market, but reviews indicate that most are simply that: novelty. They look great, but you can’t write with them. AIVN, on the other hand, handcrafts a feather pen that actually, you know, writes.
Along with the elegant and timeless feather, this set comes with 11 different-sized nibs, a gilt pen holder and a bottle of black ink. And it’s all wrapped up in a beautiful box, making it an excellent gift for artists, writers, history buffs, and more.